Diseases of the heart and vessels, endocrine tissues, liver, kidney, digestive system, bones and joints affect specific organs. However, they cannot be understood or treated without taking account of the numerous interactions between the whole body and its environment.
The cross-disciplinary aspects of physiology and pathology are therefore an even more important challenge given that the different diseases concerned stem from often largely common mechanisms.
Although we know that these metabolic disorders generally arise in genetically predisposed individuals, and in close interaction with the environment, the genetic polymorphism involved in their etiology still eludes us, and we have incomplete modeling of their physiopathological mechanisms. By improving our knowledge of the mechanisms of these diseases, we could define new biomarkers that would hopefully improve diagnoses, prognoses and therapeutic strategies.
Genomics and proteomics therefore have a crucial role to play in improving our understanding of normal tissue functioning and its interaction with the environment; in this approach, epigenetics and metagenomics will be driving forces.
The other major challenge is the setup of appropriate therapies geared more towards individualizing treatments. Some current treatments are purely palliative or symptomatic, while others are non-specific and induce side effects.
Lastly, progress in what we know about risk factors holds promise of individualized predictive medicine being developed and a better targeting of preve
ntion messages for the population.
The 2nd International Encounters of Biomedical Research, jointly organized by the International Research Laboratories (LIR), French Pharmaceutical Companies Association (LEEM) and Circulation, Metabolism and Nutrition thematic multi-organization institute, focused on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
Interview of Christian Boitard, Director of the thematic multi-organization institute Circulation, metabolism and nutrition
Cardiovascular, metabolic and nutritional diseases, the frequency of which is high and the complications devastating, are a major public health challenge.
Diabetes, hyperlipidemia, obesity (which has become a scourge in opulent societies in the space of two generations), kidney failure and atherosclerosis lead to cardiovascular diseases, which are the no.1 cause of death in industrialized societies, on a par with cancer.
These diseases are all the more severe with regard to the medical impact since they are often associated in the same patient. We even speak of metabolic syndrome in people presenting visceral obesity, dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension, diabetes, coagulation anomalies and kidney anomalies.
Paradoxically, malnutrition is also a major problem. Nutritional deficiencies are responsible for the death of some 3 million children every year in developing countries. Undernutrition also affects 40% of patients suffering from chronic diseases and 30 to 50% of hospitalized patients.
Lastly, bone and joint disorders are a subject for concern, particularly because of population aging.
Director : Christian Boitard
Policy Officer : Nathalie Grivel